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Natural healing: Turmeric

Natural Healing: TurmericIn our 2015 food trend article we mentioned turmeric. Turmeric is a tasty plant that adds flavor to your meals – and has some amazing healing properties. Turmeric is a root from the ginger family. It can be found in your spice aisle or in  root form in your produce section. Turmeric has been used for thousands of years in Asia and Indian to flavor dishes and adds its yellow hue to foods like mustard and cheese.

  • Inflammation fighter: Turmeric contains curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. With inflammation being a common ailment in Western cultures, turmeric can be used in a number of ways to combat the effects of inflammation. Turmeric may help alleviate joint pain and arthritis. It can help shorten colds, reduce stomach bloating, and if applied topically, can help reduce swelling caused by bruises (although it may temporarily stain your skin slightly yellow) and shorten healing time for cuts, burns and scrapes.
  • Curbs heartburn and indigestion: As someone who never suffered from heartburn prior to pregnancy, I now feel the plights of others. Mix up a tonic of turmeric, hot water or milk, lemon juice, and a touch of sweetener like agave, honey, or maple syrup, if needed, for a delicious and healthful way to start your day and ease the burn.
  • Cancer prevention: Although still being researched, early studies in animals have found turmeric may help prevent cancer, especially of the digestive system. Take your turmeric with a grain of salt, as more research is still needed but early signs are positive.
  • Lowers risk of heart disease: Curcumin is one powerful antioxidant. Studies have shown turmeric can help reduce post-bypass heart attacks, reduce endothelial (the lining of the blood vessels) dysfunction, decrease cholesterol, prevent the build-up of plaque, and may also mimic the effects of regular exercise on endothelial function, although you shouldn’t replace your running routine with turmeric.

Turmeric can be blood thinning so those taking blood thinning medications should use caution and consult with their doctor prior to taking a turmeric supplement. However, consuming turmeric as part of a balanced diet, in soups, curries or even the occasional juice can have many great benefits.

Written by Lisa Chase / Photo Creative Commons

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